This training was for some Senior officers of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) in the South West Region sometime in March 2019. You would have thought that it went smoothly until you know the story that preceded the event the day before and on the day of the training.
I had gotten barely 48 hours notice for this training that was to hold in Ife. I live in Lagos so it’s a minimum of 4 hours drive without factoring the bad roads into the travel time. I had another event in Ekiti the previous day so I was to drive to Ekiti on Friday and return to Ife on Saturday for the training.
I could manage traveling to Ife on Saturday because my session was for only an hour and I could proceed to Lagos after the journey.
On Friday, I hit the road with two others just because I wanted people to keep my company. The journey was smooth and the car was working fine until we approached Ibadan. As I raced towards the city of rusted roofs at about 100 to 120 KM/H, I suddenly heard a noise that automatically slowed the vehicle down.
I managed to maneuver the vehicle to a layby. I started it again with the hope the vehicle was going to work just fine. It didn’t. I didn’t know what was going on but it clearly wasn’t good if the vehicle couldn’t move and we were still going to Ekiti. At this point, I didn’t know the magnitude of what we were getting into.
A tow vehicle came right on time and we haggled until he agreed to a sum that seemed manageable for a desperate car owner in the middle of nowhere. The vehicle was towed to an area called Gate still largely at the outskirt of Ibadan. Some mechanics were recommended at that point and I asked them to check the vehicle.
They checked and broke the news. It was the auxiliary of the vehicle which was sitting under the engine. The oil had dried up and it was completely messed up. There were only two options. The first, which wasn’t likely to work at this point, was to add oil and test the vehicle. The mechanics did and the vehicle looked okay until they took the vehicle for a test. The vehicle broke down again so the only choice left was to replace the auxiliary.
Replacing it wasn’t a problem but the process and associated cost which I clearly didn’t prepare for. The lead mechanic, that’s about the best way to describe him, started explaining the process to me. Your auxiliary is under the engine and there is no way to fix or replace it without bringing out your engine. We will have to bring the engine down, replace the auxiliary, and return the engine.
If you’ve been driving cars in Nigeria for a while you’ll know that when most mechanics mention engine, your heart will skip a beat. it is usually not for cost but what would become of the vehicle at the end of the day. I wasn’t sure what to do but needed to make a decision. These mechanics also gave the option to leave the vehicle with them, source funds, and return to fix it.
The other young man who traveled with me didn’t like the idea of acting these roadside mechanics to fix the car. We didn’t know them. We weren’t sure of their competence and they were asking to remove the engine. Ha! What do we do?
After thinking for a while, I took the risk and asked them to go ahead. Auxiliary was going to cost sixty-five thousand naira after negotiating with the seller. I didn’t even mention the cost of towing the vehicle earlier. Four mechanics got to work and started dismantling the engine. In about an hour or so, the engine was out. That didn’t happen without several banters among the mechanics.
Here was I thinking about the competence of these guys and hoping they do a good job. They just laughed away as they put the engine apart and together again. I couldn’t help but laugh once in a while because these guys were too many. Trust Ibadan people to insult themselves without a fight while entertaining you for free.
Around 8:30 PM, they were able to put the engine back together and complete their final check. They started the entire work around 2 PM or so. The car was good to go but not without coughing out some money I never prepared for.
For safety, poor road, and visibility, we decided to stay in Ibadan that night and cancel the trip to Ekiti. The next sensible thing to do was to go straight to the venue of my training in Ife the next morning.
Shortly after arriving at Ife where the training of FCMB staff was to hold on Strategy Execution, I heard some of the staff lambasting the speaker before me. Though he was their colleague, they weren’t nice to him at all. They gave him some feedback that I don’t need to share here.
At this point, the two gentlemen with me wondered if these were the same people I was going to address. They didn’t know what to say to me. They were scared on my behalf. The feedback to the other speaker wasn’t kind or encouraging at all. it dampened morale straightaway.
I got up at that point and paced in the waiting area a bit. While pacing, I thought about my slide and decided to pray in tongues. I did that for a while and went back to my sit. I could tell that the heart of my colleagues was racing when it was my time to speak.
I was to speak for an hour and the session manager asked me to cut my time short. I could tell he wasn’t sure I would be able to engage.
Before we could blink, 45 minutes was over and I said my time is up. Everyone was surprised and they asked for more time. The Regional Manager said my time was too short and that I should have been given more time. There was not one person in the room who wasn’t smiling and clapping by the time I finished.
Then I got a shocker. As I was about to introduce my book on goal setting to them and ask each person to buy, the Regional Manager took the microphone and announced that he and his colleague from Lagos would buy over 160 copies of the book.
When I returned to my seat to meet my travel companions, I could see the joy on their faces. It was as though they were the ones who had succeeded. They were happy and the stress of the previous day was completely forgotten.
We drove the same car back to Lagos from Ife after the training without any itch except for a tyre bursting in Ibadan again. When we got to Lagos, I was shocked to get a call from the mechanics who wanted to be sure we returned to Lagos safely and that the car worked well.
Sometimes, Motivational Speakers, Coaches or Trainers should share their stories so you know what went on behind the scene before we showed up in suits wow the entire audience.
Fola Daniel Adelesi